When Stephanie Lillis heard that Mayo High School was not going to have a traditional prom, she flew into action.
“I was bound and determined that my daughter got a prom,” she said. “This has been on my mind since last year, honestly.”
The Lillis family decided to host its own prom when they realized the district would not be able to have a dance. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the schools were hosting a prom substitute consisting of a grand march and a photo.
But that just wasn't a prom. So Stephanie and Greg Lillis stepped in. They reserved the venue. They coordinated the catering. They hired a DJ.
"We were very lucky that we were able to put this together in a short amount of time," Greg Lillis told Post Bulletin reporter Jordan Shearer. "It truly has been a second full-time job to pull this off, but it's been totally worth it."
Unfortunately, because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Lillises could only admit less than half of the high school's senior class. The Lillises sold 130 of their 150 tickets in 72 hours.
Thumbs up to the Lillises for taking the bull by the horns to make their daughter's prom expectations come to life. It's unfortunate that not all students could participate, but those were circumstances beyond the family's control.
Stephanie Lillis said there were plans underway for similar proms at Century and John Marshall high schools. Let's hope all three schools next year can host proms outside the shadow of a pandemic.
Data privacy blackout
There's a lot of talk about transparency in government, but sometimes data needs to be kept private.
Such was the case during the Rochester School Board's process in selecting an interim superintendent.
Prior to announcing the three finalists for the job, the board was extremely discreet about disclosing any information about them. The candidates were only referred to by alphabetical designations.
Barb Dorn of the Minnesota School Boards Association read off their qualifications and letters of reference, but it was not revealed which qualifications belonged to the various candidates. The candidates' resumes were uploaded onto the school board's document website, but the information was so redacted you'd think the board bought Sharpies by the five-pack.
"The first round of applicants’ resumes were heavily redacted, but once someone has been named a finalist, we can then reveal their name on their resume, places of work and dates worked," Dorn said in response to an inquiry from Post Bulletin reporter Jordan Shearer. "Everything else must still be redacted to align with the Data Practices Act."
On Thursday night, the district selected Kent Pekel as interim superintendent for the next year, pending contract negotiations and a background check.
Since 2012, Pekel has been president and CEO of Search Institute, whose mission is to partner "with organizations to conduct and apply research that promotes positive youth development and advances equity."
'The IRS doesn't call you'
For six months, a 72-year-old Orion Township resident sent checks totaling $22,185 to someone he believed was an IRS agent.
“He got a phone call from a person claiming to be an IRS agent that said because of the scams going around, he needed to take his money and make it more secure,” Olmsted County Sheriff's Capt. Scott Behrns said
Behrns said the man’s children became aware of the activity and reported it to the sheriff’s office.
Behrns said anyone receiving a call claiming to be from the IRS should hang up.
“The IRS does not call you,” he said. “They do all their business through the mail.”
Any Olmsted County resident who has paid money to a suspected scammer can report it by calling local dispatchers at 507-328-6800.
Obviously, another thumbs down to scammers who prey on susceptible victims.